24mo (binding size 105 x 60 mm). Collation: A8 [chi]4 *-**12 ***6 B-G12 H6.  pages. Engraved frontispiece portrait of Princess Friederike of Prussia, engraved title, folding engraved map by D. F. Soltzmann, showing the projected Kiel Canal, 12 engraved plates by Chodowiecki; colophon on p. , final leaf a publisher’s advertisement. Tearing along gutter edge of frontispiece, some discoloration. Contemporary German embroidered binding of ivory silk over pasteboard, sides with border of sequins and flowering vine decorative frame built up from purl couched on sequins and with pieces of colored glass, central cartouche of a garlanded and beribboned wreath of green sequins and purl, enclosing a basket of flowers on upper cover and two doves on lower cover, both on striated grounds, gilt edges, marbled endpapers. Some wear to upper board edges, a few small losses. Bookplate of Carlo de Poortere.***
A prettily bound copy of this long-running Berlin almanac, which appeared under various titles from 1769 to 1813. The greatest German book illustrator of the 18th century, Daniel Chodowiecki can be said to have practically single-handedly made the fortunes of the Berlin almanac publishers; he worked for the Berlin Genealogischer Kalendar or Almanac Généalogique from 1770 until his death, as well as for several other almanac publishers. Chodowiecki’s financial value is evident from the publisher’s advertisement on the final leaf, in which ordinary copies of the almanacs are offered for 7 groschen, those with 12 engravings for 9 gr., and those with the 12 engravings by Chodowiecki for 16 gr. (these latter were available in German or French, for the same price).
Chodowiecki was given free rein to choose the subjects of the 12 engravings, always in the calendar sections of the annual almanacs. He often chose popular plays, concentrating his considerable skills on the facial expressions of the actors. In this almanac his 12 small engravings depict scenes from the play Die Jäger by the German actor and playwright August Wilhelm Iffland (1859-1814), published in 1785. The subject of each engraving is explained in a 7-page Explication des estampes following the calendar.
The engraved portrait depicts the young Hanoverian Princess Friederike of Prussia (1767–1820), who would become Duchess of York and Albany through her marriage in 1791 to Prince Frederick, King George III’s second son. The folding engraved map shows the projected route of what is today known as the Kiel canal - one of the world’s most trafficked canals - which joins the North Sea to the Baltic. The canal was completed in 1784, showing that this map, which includes a profile of the canal, was originally issued before that.
Like the publishing phenomenon of the almanac, the embroidered decor of this German binding imitates French models, especially in the use of purl couched on sequins and the ribbon and wreath design.
Cf. Lanckoronska & Oehler, Die Buchillustration des XVIII. Jahrhunderts II: pp. 92-93. Item #2688u